John Shand

1759 - 1825


Slave-owner in Jamaica, repatriating wealth derived from slavery to acquire and develop landed estates in Kincardineshire. Brother of William Shand (q.v.).

John Shand first went to Jamaica when fleeing his creditors in Scotland. He managed to leave this country before he was declared bankrupt along with his mother, who was his partner in the family business. They had their assets sequestrated, but Shand was presumably outwith the jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts while he remained in Jamaica.

  1. Anthony Cooke shows: 'John Shand (c. 1759-1825) of Arnhall and the Burn Kincardineshire. Matriculated St Andrews University 1775. Former plantation manager and sugar planter. Earlier will in Jamaica transferring £127,348 in govt. stock (3% consolidated annuities and 3% reduced annuities) to Rev. John Anderson for purchase of estate in Kincardineshire, through a bond for £50,000 payable in instalments. Payment of £3000 each for the education of his seven illegitimate children (4 boys, 3 girls) by Frances Brown of St Catherine's parish, 'a Free woman of colour my housekeeper'.' E[state] £12,070, including bank stock £1142 (Dundee Union), 3% Consolidated Annuities £999, stock in East India Co. £1000.
  2. Arnhall is a property in Fettercain district. It, along with The Burn, was purchased in 1818 by John Shand (son of John Shand, merchant and shipowner, Garmouth), who, in early manhood, had emigrated to Demerera [sic], and acquired a competency. At his death both properties passed to his brother, William Shand, whose son, Alexander Innes Shand, is the well-known contributer to "Blackwood." Mr William Shand's affairs having become involved, the creditors sold the estates to Colonel McInroy..."
  3. Towards the end of his life, John Shand made substantial changes to his wishes so as to ensure that beneficiaries other than William would receive their inheritance. The executors of his will were changed. Further, the will of John Shand's sister Helen makes clear that legacies to family members were not paid in full, if at all.

We are grateful to Alastair Beattie for his assistance in compiling this entry.


'John Shand and Frances Brown', African-Scottish Families, University of Aberdeen, [accessed 23/03/2016]

National Records of Scotland. DI8/201 p.327 [accessed 15/01/2024]

  1. PROB 11/1582/310; Anthony Cooke, 'An elite revisited: Glasgow West India merchants, 1783-1877', Journal of Scottish Historical Studies 32.2 2012 pp. 127-165, at p. 163; SC 5/41/1/351 12/02/1826.
  2. John A. Henderson, Aberdeenshire Epitaphs and Inscriptions: With historical, biographical, genealogical, and antiquarian notes (Aberdeen, 1907) p. 4.
  3. Scotland's People website (Stonehaven Court): will of John Shand, SC5/41/1 p. 351 [accessed 22/01/24]. Scotland's People website (Elgin Court): will of Helen Shand, SC26/38/3 p. 188 and Inventory SC26/39/3 p. 116 [accessed 22/01/24].

Further Information

[With Frances Brown} William Batty Shand, Richard Batty Shand, John Batty Shand, Robert Batty Shand, Millborough Batty Shand, Isabella Batty Shand, Frances Batty Shand

PROB 11/1710/17 - precis.

Hon. John Shand of St Catherine, Jamaica.

I have now standing in the names of Abraham Wildey Roberts, William Curtis the younger and Francis Robertson of the City of London Esquires upon trusts that have been completed the sum of £37,000 at 3% consolidated annuities; this is intended to be transferred into my own name. Also the sum of £58,348 3s 10d or thereabouts is now standing in my name in the said 3% consolidated annuities and £32,000 in the 3% reduced annuities. These sums may have been increased by further purchase. All these sums in the books of the Government of the Bank of England I bequeath to the Rev. John Anderson of the parish of Belly[=Bellie] in Scotland or in case of his death before me to the said Francis Robertson in trust, that he should sell the stocks or funds when he shall find it necessary to pay a certain bond which I have executed to Alexander Brodie of Great Britain with the said John Anderson as my surety for part of the consideration money of certain estates in the county of Kincardine in Scotland, purchased by me from the said Alexander Brodie, on which bond there is now due about £50,000 sterling. The residue of these funds to be sold for the purposes of this my will. But if I should have paid the said bond in my lifetime then the said gift to be void and the sum to become part of my personal estate.

To my sister Helen Shand £3,000 sterling.

To the said John Anderson, Frances Robertson and Colin Robertson of the City of London merchant, £3,000 sterling in trust to lay out in government funds of Great Britain for the use of my reputed son William Batty Shand by Frances Brown of St Catherine, a free woman of colour, my housekeeper. The interest and dividends to be remited to them to pay for the maintenance and education of William Batty Shand until he reaches the age of 23 years. The capital to be transferred to him at that age.

The same arrangements of £3,000 for my reputed son John Batty Shand and for a further £3,000 for my reputed son Richard Batty Shand, £3,000 for my reputed son Robert Batty Shand, £3,000 for my reputed daughter Millborough Batty Shand, £3,000 for my reputed daughter Isabella Batty Shand, £3,000 for my reputed daughter Frances Batty Shand (in the daughters' case at age 23 or marriage) all by the said Frances Brown. A further £3,000 on the same terms for any child that Frances Shand may be enciente with and may be born within 9 months after I leave this island for Great Britain. Should any of them die before age 23 or without issue then their share to be divided amongst the survivors. Should all die then these sums to go to my residuary personal estate.

My plantation of sugar works called Kellis in Clarendon with the pen attached to it, my pen called Mamee Gully and any other lands I may be possessed of in Clarendon, my sugar plantation called Bellmont in St John and any other land in St John, and my pen called Clifton in St Catherine, all to my brother William Shand, Charles Oswin and Hugh McLean upon trust to 500 years; the property to be managed by William Shand.

From the trust, to pay from them an annuity of £200 Jamaican currency pa to Frances Brown, and to her £500 lump sum within 12 months of my decease. Also from the trust, an annuity of £200 pa sterling to Dr John Anderson.

My slaves named Beneba (alias Mary Gray, a Sambo), Betty (a Negro), Diana (a Negro), Primus (otherwise Thomas Gale, a negro whom I have lately manumitted), annuities of £10 Jamaican currency pa each.

From the trust, to raise from the profits of my plantations £21,000 sterling within 5 years at the rate of not less than £4250 sterling each each for the purchase of Parliamentary funds or stocks to accumulate for my four reputed sons and three reputed daughters at age 23 (or marriage, if younger, for the daughters). Should daughters marry without the consent of the trustees then their portions to be held in a separate trust for their sole and separate use.

All rest and residue of my estate to be sold. Residuary legatee William Shand.

Executors to be William Shand, and from his death Charles Oswin and Hugh McLean in Jamaica; William Shand and John Anderson in Britain.

Signed 13/07/1816.

Codicil dated 26/11/1821. The value of my West Indian property renders the paying of £21,000 in trust to my 7 reputed children inexpedient. Instead, I confirm the £3,000 each for them from my personal estate with an additional £2,000 charged upon my Scottish property, making a total provision of £5,000 for each of them. Trustees John Anderson, Francis Robertson and Colin Robertson nominated to receive this money. Alexander Lamont (Writer to the Signet, Edinburgh) to be a trustee for all of the said trusts.

To Mrs Grace or Grizell Anderson, wife of Rev. John Anderson, in the event of her surviving her husband, an annuity of £50 pa, chargeable on my plantations in Jamaica.

To my servant Thomas Gale Lewis as a mark of his fidelity £50 sterling and all my wearing apparel and a further annuity of £20 sterling pa, this bequest to include the £10 Jamaican currency previously bequeathed to him.

Executors in Jamaica to be William Shand, Rev. John Anderson and Alexander Lamont, to replace Charles Oswin and Hugh McLean.

Proved in London 01/03/1826 by Rev. John Anderson and Alexander Lamont.

Proved in London 10/04/1827 by William Shand.

Planter and pen owner

Associated Estates (15)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1809 [EA] - 1825 [LA] → Owner
1815 [EA] - 1826 [EY] → Owner
1815 [EA] - → Not known
1815 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Receiver
1815 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Receiver
1817 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Owner
1825 [EA] - 1826 [LA] → Previous owner
1817 [EA] - 1825 [LA] → Owner
1815 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Receiver
1817 [EA] - → Owner

John Shand was executor under the will of James Grant of St John, but appears in the records by 1817 to have become owner, possibly by purchase from the heirs of James Grant.

1809 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Not known
1811 [EA] - 1815 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1820 [LA] → Joint owner
1815 [EA] - 1816 [LA] → Receiver
1820 [EA] - → Executor

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

The Burn and Arnhall [Purchased] 
description →
Two estates purchased by John Shand for £70,000 in 1814. He then undertook 'spirited improvements in drainage' on Arnhall. ...

Relationships (4)

Extra-marital relationships
Father → Natural Daughter
Testator → Trustee

Addresses (2)

Arnhall, Fettercain (near), Kincardineshire, North-east Scotland, Scotland
The Burn, Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire, North-east Scotland, Scotland